IoT and making the workplace better…

In the past few months I have talked about three types of IoT devices (Stayable, Wearable and Portable) that utilize two different types of communication (passive and active) and finally a term I coined yesterday the entire world of Mandated IoT.

Obviously if you are an innovator the easiest way to get to the mass market is to figure out a way to get your solution mandated and then get to market before anyone else. The time between law and competitors is the blue ocean. The longer your blue ocean the larger your market share will be in the end.

But the thing that kills crowd funding projects today is time. If you are overly cautious on your timeline you will risk losing “investors.” There is also the sad reality of vision. There is a concept in the software world and the infrastructure world called the mythical person month (it used to be man month but let’s move not the 21st century with our nomenclature). A person month represents what a human being can produce in a 30 time period. This assumes that the person goes home every night and relaxes. They go home on weekends and they do not work. In that mythical 30 day month there are 21 working days (on average there is one holiday per month statically when creating a mythical month. Some cultures have more than one holiday per month and you have to account for that in the mythical month. The month represented in these figures applies to North America workers.) Assuming an 8 hour work day for a developer you will ultimately have to take out 1 hour for email and administrative duties. You will need to take out 30 minutes for the daily standup meeting so that everyone is aligned. This produces roughly 6.4 hours of effective working time in an 8 hour day or 136.5 hours of productivity.

IoT aside – building better programming environments

clip_image002First off, IoT as the future of productivity. What makes people less productive? Too much light? Too much heat or cold? Too many distractions? All of these as well as too much carbon dioxide in the air can be controlled and managed with various IoT sensors. Make the workplace more effective and the result is more productivity.

The better the air the team breathes the better in the end the productivity will be. It really is that simple.

The other option is to let your developers work at home. That actually stretches the work day a little and lets the work crew get the other things done in their lives that cause stress. You still need to provide the developers with direction and with air quality sensors. In the end you gain about 30 minutes of net productivity per day per remote developer. The disadvantage is that not everyone is effective at remote working. Writers working remote actually don’t work. Developers have to have a mind set when working remote. In other words don’t push people out the door because it appears to gain productivity. Instead talk to the team and see what works. I know for example that remote writers do not work. In building out solutions and documenting the solution either for a proposal or a manual the writers need to be in the room with the technical team. Code reviews are the same way, best done with the developer in the room. Most important thing about a code review – IT IS NOT A PERSONNEL REVIEW. You are simply looking at the code you are reviewing and nothing else.

The very air of your building may be reducing your productivity. Co2 over 1000 ppm actually causes headaches. Headaches in the computer world actually mean people can’t stare at the screen as long nor are they able to work through complex math as effectivity. If the environment in the building isn’t comfortable for the developers they will also be less productive. Many years ago we talked developing hot aisles and cold aisles in our data centers. The reason was to reduce the cost of cooling by generating airflow that cooled things more efficiently. The same by the way is true for human beings. They need temperatures at various levels. Find out what works for the actual people and move them to rooms that are specifically cooler or warmer.

The mythical person months is in the end tied to the actual person involved.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.